Summer dreams (A poem)

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In the bliss of winter’s frozen kiss
as Ice is formed, abrasive and painful
an Angel with wings unfurled
left her mark in the mounds of silky snow.

I do not know what transpired there
as some walk by and some don’t care
But I’m almost sure I glimpsed heaven’s door
looking out from my frosted window.

With rooftops coated white and wisps of smoke
dancing or escaping elegantly into the crisp atmosphere
I remain here, tightly bundled, blanketed train behind me
perfectly content to let the days of winter kiss another
but not my cheek, nor these feeble hands
I am a child of summer weighted down by this
absence of her soft warming embrace.

And for now…I bide my time.

New Things, New Year’s Brings!

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Many people want a clean slate.  Some are hoping to just get through this year and with breaths of relief cruise into a new year, hopefully less bruised and battered.  It is almost 2014, can you believe it?  For some this year flew by (I would be in that crowd), while for others it slowly, geriatrically creeped by.  

Perhaps some look forward to that big New Year’s day bash, while others will happily avoid the festivities and regale themselves with a cup of tea and a good book before falling asleep well before the clock strikes midnight.  3-2-1…Happy New Year!!  

I, for one, have a tough time when getting to the new year and writing that “2014” on the checks from my check book…I’m sure I’m not the only one…anyway I digress.  

What will 2014 have in store for you?  Do you have dreams and hopes to plunge into?  Have you already filled your calendar with them?  I’m not much of a long range planner, but I do have some aspirations for the new year.  

ASPIRATIONS: 

as·pi·ra·tion

 noun \ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən\

 
Definition of ASPIRATION
1
:  audible breath that accompanies or comprises a speech sound

 

:  the pronunciation or addition of an aspiration; also :  the symbol of an aspiration

2
:  a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: as

 

:  the act of breathing and especially of breathing in

 

:  the withdrawal of fluid or tissue from the body

 

:  the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current

3
a :  a strong desire to achieve something high or great
 
There we go, #3 in the dictionary…something to achieve…this is the kind of aspiration I’m talking about.  
 
Here is my bucket list for 2014…(AKA my bucket of aspiration) 
 
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1) I want to write better and increase this audience: 
I know, perhaps it sounds ambitious, but we need things to aspire to and I want to become a better writer as well as help others along the way within the content of what I write…so here goes!  
 
2) I want to improve my preaching and my application of the Word!  
It goes without saying that ministry is tough and there will be times when I won’t have all the time I would like to write my sermons but my desire is to dedicate more time the application of method of my sermon writing. 
 
3) To stop and take in God’s beauty more. 
I love the outdoors, I enjoy photography as well as poetry and this year I would like to stop and just relish the beauty of God’s creation around me.  In the process of taking time for 1 & 2 I want to be able to look up from my computer or my books and spend time in the nature around me, to truly appreciate it more and say “thank you” more often to the Lord of these provisions.  
 
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4) Be all I can be as a good parent. 
I have four kids who need good parental role models and I can (and should) strive to be that to them as their father.  God blessed me with these four wonderful humans and it is both my responsibility as well as my Wife’s responsibility to bring them up properly.  I aspire to be a better parent in 2014.  
 
 
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5) Be all I can be as a Husband.
My Wife deserves it, and I can and should show the love of my life how a husband can cherish and love his wife!  She deserves my best effort and love as well as attention to her every needs.  I aspire in 2014 to win “Husband of the year”…okay maybe that’s pushing it, but hey the sky’s the limit!  🙂  
 
Anyway, new things, new year’s brings…it’s simple…take time, appreciate life, and contribute positively to it in ways that God has blessed you through gifts, insight, and abilities.  Remember life isn’t only about what you’ll get out of it, life is far more rewarding if we all include others first into the grand scheme of our perspectives.  
 
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God Bless you, and Happy (Pre)  New Years!  Now get aspiring!  

For Today. (Poem & Prayer)

Lord, today I confess I’m struggling 

my heart not brave enough for the fight 

how can I be your light of encouragement 

when this heaviness weighs groaning on me? 

You know me better than I know myself

all of my heart aches, heart breaks, 

heart’s yearnings and attacks. 

Today, though I don’t feel like it

I will serve You.  

I can’t hide, or fake it…I can’t fool you!

Ignite in me, again your passion

blow into flame this desire

set my hopes and dreams aflame

ignition begins again on my knees

in prayer.  

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Dreaming too small…finding our Goldilocks goals.

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We’ve all heard of vision casting, and of planning for the future.  Most, if not all churches do this.  We set goals in order to attain or sometimes maintain mission and purpose.  We also set goals so that, as churches, there is continued visible area of measurable growth.

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Two Dangers in goal setting: 

1) Setting the bar too high

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When we dream lofty dreams, at times, we have our heads in the clouds and our feet barely touching reality.  Setting the bar too high on what our congregation or ministry team can accomplish can be self-defeating in that when a goal date comes and goes and we are no where near our projected accomplishment we run the risk of self-inflicted failure.  Team leaders and other church members might become weary of goal planning and lack of success that they give up or simply stop attempting to assist in future plans and goals.  

Setting the bar too high can lead to failure and begin to pull the team apart in various polarizing views.  In “dreaming  big”, we have to be careful that we have the available resources to ‘pull-off’ the goal(s).  The danger is we often say things like;  ‘when we have the right people in place‘, or ‘when we get this or that in place‘ but the problem is we cannot rely on “if” and “when” to accomplish our goals.  To do so, we set goals and objectives far too high to experience any kind of measurable success.  

Danger #2

2) Setting the bar too low –

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Even though we shouldn’t set the bar too high, we also should be wary of setting the bar far too low.  This type of goal setting may at the onset appear to find quick success but these low expectations will limit any long term measurable goals.  Why would this be the case?  Because instead of taking calculated risks and setting goals that we have the resources for one who sets the bar too low will take baby steps instead of leaps.  When leaps are available in goal setting success yet aren’t attempted, members of the team or congregation can become frustrated at the lack of progressive movement.  By that I mean, team members can see where our mission ought to be but when we fall short of it by dreaming/planning too small we frustrate the future.  

Finding our Goldilocks:

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If we can avoid setting lofty goals while at the same time not settling for too small a goal set, then we can finally find goldilocks goals.  You know the old story of Goldilocks don’t you? The porridge and the beds were chosen…and finally she found the ones that were just right!

In the same way each team or congregation ought to set goals that are appropriate for their specific demographic and skill set.  It does no good to model oneself on the blueprints of another church or ministry; nor will it work to simply transplant what worked in another place.  Each team or congregation ought to find their own specific sweet spot.  What is it that your group, church, team does well?  Find these sweet spots and set your goals appropriately.  

Don’t limit the Holy Spirit by setting your goals too low, or dreaming too small.  But don’t dream lofty and impossible goals well beyond your resources and manpower either!  

Find your sweet spot and then set your Goldilocks goals.  

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-Just a thought.

In the hopefully’s and the maybes (A Poem)

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Walking past the old mailbox

and thinking of how many times 

I’ve traversed there to collect 

the metered mail, the junk mail

the birthday cards and solicitations, 

it’s raining again today

making it feel like an old sock 

worn too thin with holes in the heel 

the sun has yet to make an appearance 

as another round of thunder peels off

into the distance like an encore far away 

yet close enough to hear…

in these solemn moments

when all is silent in the house

stepping back into it, making the door

creak shut, trying not to disturb

the slumbering home with its constant

creaks and whirrs and electric hums

brick and mortar snoring in this sleepy  

corner of the block.  

Casting one last glance outside

I imagine far different days than these

days in which we try to grasp, 

hold onto for dear life, treasure deeply

breathe in their fragrances 

yet they disappear far too soon

but the magic is never too far away

it still resounds, a myriad of choral sounds

beckoning us back to a place that will never

come.

Still we sigh, casting out our hopes and dreams

into a net of maybes and hopefully’s as I shut the door

tomorrow steps up to the front stoop

and begins its knocking.  

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A Resolutely Hopeful New Year?

It’s about to happen again.  Those promises spoken under the breath.  The pleading to one’s self to do better this time.  The clean slate, slightly dusty, chalky residue coating it still  as it reminds us there’s still something left of yester-year just above the surface.  It’s about to happen again.  The ‘Y’ down the street will see an influx of travelers, the “magic” pill company will peddle its ’emperor’s new clothes’ gig for another year.  The husband will promise to be a better father, and spouse, while the wife will promise not to feel so guilty about piling laundry and late slightly under cooked meals.

Do I sound a little cynical?  Perhaps so.  Although perhaps it’s a little too close to home for most of us.  Perhaps as people toast to the close of another year, silencing the book at the very last page of the very last chapter, there is that one small word that eclipses the disappointments.  It’s a relatively small word, though it promises to mend the broken fences and extinguish the fully engulfed bridges.  It’s a word that sends butter flies in flight in the stomach and rekindles the yearnings of the youthful child in us all to be good little boys and girls…or to die trying.  Perhaps as the final page, though yellowed and singed, is turned we are drawn to the “what could be’s” of tomorrow.  Perhaps the “maybe’s” once again carry promises far more inviting than the “should have’s” of our last year’s yesterdays.  So as we turn that final crinkly, protesting, crusty page, closing its book, pushing it aside and picking up our tomorrow’s, that word escapes our lips once again in our maybe’s and our want to be’s.  Hope.  It’s what allows us to strive to improve upon.  It’s what motivates us to flee our regrets, divorcing our estranged worries and fears and embrace the hopes and reigniting the dreams once again.

Perhaps resolutions aren’t all bad…perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train at all, but the warmth of a brand new day inviting us to part take in it.  This is my way of wishing you a happy new year, embrace it well, drink deeply in its promises and just maybe that child in us is right after all …you can be a better little boy or little girl in the new year.   Here’s to Hope, may it  become deeply rooted in us all in the coming year.  Not just ‘Hope’ in and of itself, but Hope in something far beyond our grasp and understanding.  A hope that stems from the Author and Creator of this life.  An Alpha and Omega kind of hope, one that isn’t shaken at the gusts and gales of a single day, but remains rooted in us all so that we can resolutely say at the end of this year’s pages we are ready, come what may!

-Best of wishes as you embrace that hope once again.  Image

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